How many openings does a typical (national/international level) tournament player usually know and play?

For instance: in a tournament, can I expect that a player will either open 1.d4 or 1.e4 consistently when they have white? And, if black plays (for instance) 1...e6, can I expect their move 2 to be always the same? How long of an opening line will they typically follow without changes (given the opportunity)?

Or maybe they have a single opening that they play 80% of the time, for instance, and then they change completely when they feel like doing something different?

I am not speaking about top-level matches such as a world champion match, where many matches between the same two players are played with a lot of preparation, and I can expect them to vary a bit more.

  • 2
    about what type of players you ask? there are players(even GM's) who play only one maximum two openings all their life, they now those till perfection; there are players of different type like Vasily Ivanchuk - every GM know there is no reason to prepare against him - he can play anything. This really depends on a players character and dedication to chess and will to explore it, not on the level of player. – Drako Oct 9 '18 at 13:35
  • @Drako Thanks, that sounds like an answer! It doesn't surprise me that there are extremes in both directions, but what is the most common approach that is encountered here? – Federico Poloni Oct 9 '18 at 13:47
  • 1
    I really think its very individually - there are no rules definitely, depending on personality you can be successful with any approach and they all will have their pros and cons; so if you play 1 opening all your life at some point your risk to seriously fail in the opening is close to 0, but at same time on serious level your "risk" to get some serious opening advantage is also close to 0, because all opponents are perfectly prepared. But if you try to learn many - even genius like Ivanchuk sometimes fails in opening miserably; because you can't know everything in all of them. – Drako Oct 9 '18 at 14:26
  • 1
    I believe most players consistently open either with 1.d4 or 1.e4, also because both lead to very different play and normally only one of both styles suits you. The same goes for Black’s first move. – Tommiie Oct 9 '18 at 14:26

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